The Hollywood Revue of 1929


1h 56m 1929
The Hollywood Revue of 1929

Brief Synopsis

Sketches and songs give MGM's silent stars a chance to show their stuff in talking pictures.

Film Details

Genre
Comedy
Musical
Release Date
Nov 23, 1929
Premiere Information
Los Angeles premiere: 20 Jun 1929
Production Company
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures
Country
United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 56m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White, Color (Technicolor)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.33 : 1
Film Length
11,669ft (13 reels)

Synopsis

The show opens with a minstrel chorus and dance routine, and Jack Benny and Conrad Nagel are introduced as masters of ceremony. Joan Crawford sings "Gotta Feelin' for You," amidst a dance specialty, finishing with the Biltmore Quartet. Charles King does "Your Mother and Mine," before a minstrel chorus, and Conrad Nagel sings "You Were Meant for Me" to Anita Page. Cliff Edwards and his "uke" render "Nobody But You," and William Haines and Jack Benny do a comedy sketch. Bessie Love comes out of Benny's pocket in miniature and with a male chorus sings "I Could Never Do a Thing Like That," climaxed by a dance number. Next, Marie Dressler and Polly Moran in a comedy number sing "For I'm the Queen," and Laurel and Hardy do a sketch as magician. Marion Davies sings "Tommy Atkins on Parade" with a male chorus and does some tap dancing. The Brox Sisters introduce a song and dance ensemble. "The Tableau of Jewels" opens the second act, followed by "The Dance of the Sea," in which Keaton appears. Gus Edwards sings "Lon Chaney" and is followed by the Natova company in an adagio dance. Norma Shearer and John Gilbert appear next in a Technicolor "Romeo and Juliet" balcony sequence with Lionel Barrymore, updated to flapper language. On a glass stage, Cliff Edwards and a dance ensemble appear in "Singin' in the Rain." Two comedy routines follow: "Charlie, Ike and Gus" and "Marie, Polly, and Bess," climaxed by "Strolling Through the Park." The Technicolor finale features Charles King singing "Orange Blossom Time," followed by two dance numbers performed by the Albertina Rasch Ballet. A replica of Noah's Ark and the principals performing "Singin' in the Rain" conclude the show.

Film Details

Genre
Comedy
Musical
Release Date
Nov 23, 1929
Premiere Information
Los Angeles premiere: 20 Jun 1929
Production Company
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures
Country
United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 56m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White, Color (Technicolor)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.33 : 1
Film Length
11,669ft (13 reels)

Award Nominations

Best Picture

1929

Articles

The Hollywood Revue of 1929


The title tune of Singin' in the Rain (1952), sung and danced so joyously by Gene Kelly in that classic musical, actually became an MGM "signature" song courtesy of the early talkie The Hollywood Revue of 1929 (1929). The Arthur Freed/Herb Nacio Brown song was introduced by Cliff Edwards in the latter movie and became its leitmotif. In the film's big production number it is reprised by a chorus of stars in rain slickers. "Singin' in the Rain" would also be performed by Jimmy Durante in Speak Easily (1932), Judy Garland in Little Nellie Kelly (1940) and Malcolm MacDowell in A Clockwork Orange (1971).

The Hollywood Revue of 1929 was the first movie of its kind, similar to the stage extravaganzas of Florenz Ziegfeld and George White. Nominated for a Best Picture Oscar, the movie lost to The Broadway Melody (1929), another MGM production to which it is very similar, except that Hollywood Revue has no plotline to connect its skits and songs. The movie was a tremendous hit with both audiences and critics, with the New York Times predicting that such entertaining films would seriously hamper the attendance of live theater.

Almost every big MGM star appears in Hollywood Revue with the notable exception of Greta Garbo, whose contract stipulated that she could only be starred alone in a film or co-starred with a male player. Joan Crawford, in her singing debut, warbles "Got a Feelin' for You" and performs a jazz dance. "Tommy Atkins on Parade" is performed by Marion Davies and a chorus. To scene-stealing effect, Marie Dressler does a bit called "For I'm the Queen" and forms a trio with Polly Moran and Bessie Love to perform "Marie, Polly and Bess." Anita Page sings "You Were Meant for Me."

Acting as emcees of the film are Jack Benny and Conrad Nagel. Since Benny came from vaudeville and Nagel was a movie matinee idol, several of their jokes revolve around the difference between stage performers and film actors. Topical gags include those kidding Prohibition and the advent of sound in the movies. Other comedy routines feature Laurel and Hardy as bumbling magicians and Buster Keaton as a harem girl in a burlesque ballet. In a sequence filmed in Technicolor, John Gilbert and Norma Shearer offer a "slang" version of the balcony scene from Romeo and Juliet, with Lionel Barrymore acting as their director.

Two other segments also are in color: the "Singin' in the Rain" finale and a "Technicolor Ballet." During the latter number, some theaters arranged for the smell of orange blossoms to waft through the audience. Choreographer Sammy Lee, anticipating the work of Busby Berkeley by a few years, created dance routines for the film that were devised to be photographed from overhead.

Producer: Harry Rapf
Director: Charles Reisner
Screenplay: Al Boasberg, Robert E. Hopkins
Cinematography: John Arnold, Max Fabian, Irving Reis
Set Decoration: Cedric Gibbons, Richard Day
Costume Design: David Cox
Original Music: Nacio Herb Brown
Editing: William S. Gray
Principal Cast: Jack Benny (Emcee), Conrad Nagel (Emcee), Ann Dvorak (Chorus Girl); Specialties by Nils Asther, Lionel Barrymore, Joan Crawford, Marion Davies, Marie Dressler, Cliff Edwards, John Gilbert, Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy, Buster Keaton, Bessie Love, Anita Page, Norma Shearer.
BW & C-119m.

by Roger Fristoe
The Hollywood Revue Of 1929

The Hollywood Revue of 1929

The title tune of Singin' in the Rain (1952), sung and danced so joyously by Gene Kelly in that classic musical, actually became an MGM "signature" song courtesy of the early talkie The Hollywood Revue of 1929 (1929). The Arthur Freed/Herb Nacio Brown song was introduced by Cliff Edwards in the latter movie and became its leitmotif. In the film's big production number it is reprised by a chorus of stars in rain slickers. "Singin' in the Rain" would also be performed by Jimmy Durante in Speak Easily (1932), Judy Garland in Little Nellie Kelly (1940) and Malcolm MacDowell in A Clockwork Orange (1971). The Hollywood Revue of 1929 was the first movie of its kind, similar to the stage extravaganzas of Florenz Ziegfeld and George White. Nominated for a Best Picture Oscar, the movie lost to The Broadway Melody (1929), another MGM production to which it is very similar, except that Hollywood Revue has no plotline to connect its skits and songs. The movie was a tremendous hit with both audiences and critics, with the New York Times predicting that such entertaining films would seriously hamper the attendance of live theater. Almost every big MGM star appears in Hollywood Revue with the notable exception of Greta Garbo, whose contract stipulated that she could only be starred alone in a film or co-starred with a male player. Joan Crawford, in her singing debut, warbles "Got a Feelin' for You" and performs a jazz dance. "Tommy Atkins on Parade" is performed by Marion Davies and a chorus. To scene-stealing effect, Marie Dressler does a bit called "For I'm the Queen" and forms a trio with Polly Moran and Bessie Love to perform "Marie, Polly and Bess." Anita Page sings "You Were Meant for Me." Acting as emcees of the film are Jack Benny and Conrad Nagel. Since Benny came from vaudeville and Nagel was a movie matinee idol, several of their jokes revolve around the difference between stage performers and film actors. Topical gags include those kidding Prohibition and the advent of sound in the movies. Other comedy routines feature Laurel and Hardy as bumbling magicians and Buster Keaton as a harem girl in a burlesque ballet. In a sequence filmed in Technicolor, John Gilbert and Norma Shearer offer a "slang" version of the balcony scene from Romeo and Juliet, with Lionel Barrymore acting as their director. Two other segments also are in color: the "Singin' in the Rain" finale and a "Technicolor Ballet." During the latter number, some theaters arranged for the smell of orange blossoms to waft through the audience. Choreographer Sammy Lee, anticipating the work of Busby Berkeley by a few years, created dance routines for the film that were devised to be photographed from overhead. Producer: Harry Rapf Director: Charles Reisner Screenplay: Al Boasberg, Robert E. Hopkins Cinematography: John Arnold, Max Fabian, Irving Reis Set Decoration: Cedric Gibbons, Richard Day Costume Design: David Cox Original Music: Nacio Herb Brown Editing: William S. Gray Principal Cast: Jack Benny (Emcee), Conrad Nagel (Emcee), Ann Dvorak (Chorus Girl); Specialties by Nils Asther, Lionel Barrymore, Joan Crawford, Marion Davies, Marie Dressler, Cliff Edwards, John Gilbert, Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy, Buster Keaton, Bessie Love, Anita Page, Norma Shearer. BW & C-119m. by Roger Fristoe

Quotes

Haven't I met you before in Omaha?
- Emcee
I never forget a face.
- Emcee
The egg trick is OUT! But, nevertheless, we will show YOU how to put a large cake into OBLIVION!
- Magician
Ladies and gentlemen -- in fact, all of you. Feeling that you are weary of domestic triangles, we have gone to Europe for our next scene. The locale is Turkey, southern Turkey. You see, Turkey is divided into three zones, namely, the white meat, the dark meat, and the part I always get.
- Emcee
Now, I believe that most of you are unfamiliar with the adagio. I know I am. And so are the dancers. And if "adagio" means what I think it does, imagine my embarrassment. Incidentally, this is the 1929 Adagio with the standard gearshift. On with the dance.
- Emcee
Now, listen, boyfriend, you have a nice line of chatter but how do I know you care for me in a big way?
- Juliet

Trivia

One of the films cited as contributing to the collapse of 'John Gilbert' 's career after audiences heard his high-pitching speaking voice. Apparently, Gilbert's Romeo & Juliet sequence inspired the "talkie disaster" sequence in Singin' in the Rain (1952).

First filmed performance of "Singin' in the Rain". This sequence inspired the opening credits of Singin' in the Rain (1952).

Reportedly features every major MGM star of the day with the exception of Greta Garbo, Ramon Novarro and Lon Chaney.